BEFORE THE WILDFLOWERS BLOOM by Tatyana Bylinsky

BEFORE THE WILDFLOWERS BLOOM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A strong sense of family permeates this Italian-American child's account of life and tragedy in a small Colorado mining town just before WW I. Parents, four brothers and sisters, assorted aunts, uncles, and 16 cousins--all live on the same street: for eight-year-old Carmela, there's always a relative to play with, help, or care for. Between the splendid opening line--""The sun got up as early as Mama did""--and the final bittersweet summation, incidents are strung like beads: Carmela's brother returning from a traveling hypnotist's show without the two younger children who had been with him; borrowing a lace curtain for a veil so that Cousin Rosie can march in a church procession; waiting for news after an explosion in the mine; Carmela making herself a cake (eggs and mud) when everyone else, in their anxiety, has forgotten her birthday; Mama coming back from the mine, after nine days, with one of Papa's shoes; and the ironic fulfillment of the now-dead Papa's dream to move to a ranch. Based on real incidents, Carmela's account is straightforward and childlike, without extravagant images or language, making it all the more moving.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1989
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Crown